29 May 2009

Evening Entertainment

The Lime Kiln below Cumrew Crag.

The weather has really picked up over the past few days which meant that yesterday I was able to swap an evening watching the Britain's Got Talent semi-finals for a spot of climbing on one of the many small outcrops on offer in the Eden Valley. The small outcrop that got my attention was Cumrew Crag, which involved a relatively long walk-in up a steep hill, but it rewarded you for your efforts as there were a handful of lovely VS's as well as some stuff in the lower grades. Also when you turned your back on the crag you could pick out the Lakeland Peaks in the distance and much of the Eden Valley as well as the Solway Firth.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

26 May 2009


Last night saw me trawling over guidebooks and maps in the hope of coming up with a half reasonable plan for a day's climbing in the Borrowdale Valley over near Keswick. I near enough managed it as well. The aim was to park up at the Bowderstone car park and tick off a few routes at Quayfoot Buttress and then move on to tick off most of the climbs at Wodens Face before finishing it all off with some bouldering on the Bowderstone itself.

Starting out on The Crack (V4, 6a).

Right from the word go, well right from the moment we pulled into the car park, the plan was dissolved. The Bowderstone car park, being owned by the National Trust, is a pay and display car park, and the fact that I was without coin created a slight problem. I quickly deposited the van about a mile back up the road at a cheaper (read: free) parking area and hucked all the gear needed for the remainder of the plan a mile back along the road. Here the plan dissolved some more; on consulting the guidebook I discovered that the routes I had set out to do at Quayfoot Buttress were a bit beyond my grade. This wasn't really a problem as we could just head over to Wodens Face.

Continuing on up The Crack (V4, 6a).

On arriving at Wodens Face we discovered a large school group crawling all over the well polished rock face. That was now out of the question as well. On we headed, further along the path, and further along the plan. We now found ourselves at the Bowderstone unfolding pads and arranging them at the bottom of what looked like a promising problem. It wasn't to be and we soon headed back in the direction of Wodens Face in the hope that it would have cleared somewhat; it still hadn't.

The view from the top of The Axe (S 4a), Reecastle Crag.

The plan was definitely out of the window, but all was not lost; Reecastle Crag was our saving grace. I made an ascent of a poorly protected severe, considered some of the VS's, and set off up another sever at Reecastle Crag South. However, motivation levels were running at an all time low so I was soon backing off the climb and running back to the van with thoughts of heading to Armathwaite for a top-roping session tomorrow.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

21 May 2009

Summer rain...

Summer rain, dripping down your face again
Summer rain, praying someone feels the same
Take the pain killer, cycle on your bicycle
Leave all this misery behind
- Pain Killer (Summer Rain), Turin Brakes
It's been damp of late and the last couple of days have been really damp. In fact they have been so damp that the idea of kayaking has been entertained on many occasions and as it has it yesterday evening saw us putting on a relatively low (6 on the gauge), but runnable, Aira Beck. Yesterday also saw me finish my last exam of my first year studying for a degree in Outdoor Leadership so the beck bashing mission was definitely the best way to celebrate the fact that I'm not back in lectures until the end of September.

Getting on Aira Beck.

Dropping one of the Seven Sisters.

Today saw me out in the fells around Haweswater. It wasn't the most inspiring walk, but a bad day in the hills is better than a good day in the office. To be honest it wasn't such a bad day in the hills; yes we had the odd splash of rain, but for the majority of the time the skies were clear and the sun shone down on us. The walk encompassed Mardale Head, Kidsty Howes, Kidsty Pike, Rampsgill Head, High Raise, Raven Howe, Red Crag, Wether Hill and finally Bampton Common before heading back along the shore of Haweswater.

Not what you expect at 550m, but Fix the Fells were hard at work repairing the path between Kidsty Howes and Kidsty Pike.

Looking to High Street from Kidsty Pike.

Looking across Haweswater.

I'll be in the ground's of Matfen Hall for the next three days as it is the first weekend of business for the new Go Ape course that has just been built there.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

16 May 2009

No Fear of Falling

Looking up the classic Mohammed the Mad Monk of Moorside Home for Mental Misfits (VS 4c).

This was my last night in Preston so to pass the time I headed out for some climbing at Denham Quarry. It was amazing really that I managed to get some routes in after the rain that had fallen during the day; the rock was bone dry when we rocked up in the Pool Area at the quarry so we set too it straight away.

I got a quick lead in on Concave Wall (S 4a) before getting on the classic of the crag, Mohammed the Mad Monk of Moorside Home for Mental Misfits (VS 4c). It all went well so after a quick top rope on Going for the One (E2 5b) I got back on the sharp end to head up Mohammed the Medieval Melancholic (HVS 5a), which according to my guidebook is VS 4c, after a bit of a struggle and one fall later I got up it on a top-rope and then headed for home.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

15 May 2009

Slips, trips and falls

On one of the steep Font 5c problems at Craig y Longridge.

I'm back down in Preston at the moment, which has given me the opportunity to sample the delights of the Lancashire climbing scene. Tonight, after a day of near continuous rain, I managed to sneak a few problems in at Craig y Longridge. This is a well know Lancashire bouldering venue, which is extremely steep meaning that much of the rain avoided the rock. However, the parts it did reach where incredibly slippy meaning that popping off when you least expected it was extremely common.

Sorry about the quality of the pictures. There is something wrong with my camera.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

13 May 2009

Tea Break

Crammel Linn with Spadeadam Crag to the left.

Ok it wasn't really a tea break. In fact I don't even like tea, but I'd spent the day tucked up inside with my nose deep in textbooks about weather and adventure operations. Therefore I rightly deserved a break. Yesterday I said the break would involve a trip over to the Langdales; instead I headed east to the Irthing valley. I got a couple of routes in on Spadeadam Crag, which is a small outcrop over looking the impressive Crammel Linn waterfall on the Irthing. I am still to descend this drop even though it's been on my list for a fairly long time now.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

12 May 2009

Red Fingers

Low Boulder, Carrock Fell.

Next week exams begin at university so over the past few days I've been busy revising. I felt that I deserved a break this afternoon so I headed off with pads in hand for a spot of bouldering at Carrock Fell on the eastern flanks of Blencathra. I managed to get nine problems in ranging from V0+ to V5 and in the process destroyed my finger tips and shredded my forearms on the incredibly tough Gabbro rock. It's back to revising tomorrow and I may take another break in the evening that may involve some routes over in the Langdales.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

10 May 2009

Grit Action

Last night I arrived home in Carlisle after spending three days down in the Peak District climbing on some grit stone outcrops with University. We left Penrith early Thursday and were climbing at the rightly named Stanage Popular by 2:30 in the afternoon. I managed to get four routes in before we headed back to the campsite somewhere near Bamford to rest in preparation for Friday's climbing fest.

At the top of Stanage Popular.

Black Hawk Hell Crack (S 4a) at Stanage Popular.

However it wasn't really to be. Friday saw some strong winds so we headed off to the sheltered Lawrencfield in the hope of avoiding them. What we didn't manage to avoid was the rain which made an appearence around lunchtime. This cut our day short and instead we retired to the shops of Hathersage to drool over shiny, shiny climbing gear and resist the urge to reach for the wallet and make a purchase.

Great Harry (VS 4c) at Lawrencefield.

Nova (VS 4b) at Lawrencefield.

The last day of our trip was decidedly nicer. The sun had made an appearance in the early evening of the day before meaning that much of the rock had dried out for one final assault on Peak grit stone and it was still shining as we left the campsite for the final time. Burbage South was the destination and some of the boulder problems were taken in before heading up to the infamous grit stone edge to lead some routes besides the likes of Equilibrium (E10 7a), Braille Trail (E7 6c) and Parthian Shot (E9 6c).

Bouldering at Burbage South.

More pictures can be found here.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

01 May 2009

Bad weather definitely does not stop play

So on Wednesday I ranted and raved about the merits of being able to go climbing when it's dry, paddling when it's wet and walking when it's damp. Well yesterday I swapped the order around and went climbing when it was both wet and damp. There was a rather loose plan set the other week to meet at the climbing wall on the morning of the 30th April and head out climbing. This plan was backed up on Wednesday with the information that we would meet at 9:30 and head over to Trophet Wall on Great Gable. However, the weather was not helpful in allowing us to implement this plan so it all changed at the last minute.

The new plan saw us haring down the M6, windscreen wipers on full, in the hope that the limestone of the Carnforth area would be bone dry. Weren't we being optimistic; it was, to put it simply, wet when we pulled up at Warton Small Quarry and the fact that it was raining did not help the cause. Anyway we managed to string together some climbing and get a few routes done before retreating to the George Washington.

Leading the Great Flake (VS 4c) at Warton Small Quarry.

Seconding the Great Flake (VS 4c).

After a cheeky pint in the George Washington plans were rehashed and Trowbarrow was the venue of choice. Again the rock was wet and it wasn't aided by the rain that started to fall just as we were gearing up. However, we pressed on and the rain abated and the rock began to dry, but this was all a bit too late as time was against us. What we did managed to achieve was impressive to say the least. We turned Jean Jeanie (VS 4c) into a multi-pitch route with the first pitch ending at a relatively small ledge, which we hoped would house four people.

At the end of the first pitch on Jean Jeanie (VS 4c).

We soon discovered the ledge wasn't big enough for four people and so headed back to the ground to sort out a mass of gear, which had been placed in every conceivable crack to ensure the hanging stance would fit four people. I'm sure it would have done if only the ledge was bigger. Before heading back north to the delights of Cumbria a spot of traversing was enjoyed over at the Red Wall.

Traversing Red Wall (7a).

More pictures can be found here.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...